The only thing hotter than Kubernetes at the moment is Crypto. While the price of BitCoin takes centre stage for the most, there is so much more behind this technology that enables value to be applied to the smart contract mechanisms of a BlockChain and what can be stored inside the immutable ledgers. Practical applications of BlockChain technology is becoming more common and beyond the lure of becoming a Crypto Millionaire, the DeFi Smart Chain boom and general hype there are a growing number of legitimate companies doing things with BlockChain technology.
I came across FileBase this week after I saw news of their 2 million dollar seed round. Having owned coins in one of the BlockChain technologies they are leveraging to provide their S3 Storage, I was instantly interested. Now this isn’t for everyone… because at its core we are talking about a de-centralised storage network spanning many nodes across the globe. GDPR and other data sovereignty controls will not work here. From an availability point of view, bucket objects are redundantly stored across thousands of availability zones globally. Bucket replication policies are not required given the underlying BlockChain technology.
S3 Compatible Object Storage Powered by Blockchain
Incredibly, Filebase does not operate any physical infrastructure. Instead, they maintain a cluster of application servers connected to various de-centralized networks. This results in a lower overhead and capital expense due to fewer servers. Users can upload data to Filebase using the browser-based interface or by using our S3-compatible API. In theory, de-centralisation will add latency when objects are retrieved from the distributed servers network. The impact on response times and performance is mitigated in theory by edge caching technology to increase throughput and lower read and write response times. The implement caching and If a recent object is downloaded from the service, it it likely that this object will be retrieved from the edge layer.
Using SIA as the backend BlockChain network, goes some way to understanding the benefits leveraging a BlockChain for storage gives.
Every object that is uploaded to Filebase is split into 30 pieces using Reed-Solomon erasure coding, featuring a 10 of 30 algorithm. These 30 pieces are then geographically distributed to Sia host servers all around the world. Only 10 of the 30 pieces need to be available in order to process a download request. This storage mechanism creates native redundancy and high availability. The Sia software divides files into 30 segments before uploading, each targeted for distribution to hosts across the world. This distribution assures that no one host represents a single point of failure and reinforces overall network uptime and redundancy.
This means that if 20 out of 30 hosts go offline, a Sia client is still able to download the files. Using the Sia blockchain, renters form file contracts with hosts. These contracts set pricing, uptime commitments, and other aspects of the relationship between the renters and the hosts. File contracts are a type of smart contract. They allow us to create cryptographic service level agreements (SLAs) that are stored on the Sia blockchain.
There is a 5GB free tier to all users, and subscriptions cost $5.99 per month and includes 1TB of storage and 1TB of transfer. For anything over that, storage costs $0.0059/GB and $0.0059/GB for outbound transfers. Ingress is always free.
Filebase S3 Object Storage with Veeam Scale Out Backup Repository Capacity Tier
Word of Caution: This is not a Veeam validated solution for production use, so please use at your own risk and treat the below as a proof of concept.
Since Veeam Backup & Replication v9.5 Update 4 we have had Object Storage Support for the Scale Out Backup Repository. Object Storage Repositories can be backed by Amazon S3 Compatible platforms… of which, Filebase is. With that, the steps to configure BlockChain based storage fronted by Amazon S3 Compatible is simple.
In the FileBase console, create a new Bucket and select your backend. I’ve talked about SIA above, but there is also the option of Storg or Skynet (for more content and application hosting) as the BlockChain backing your S3.
From here, Click on Settings from top right cog to get your S3 API Access and Secret Key details and S3 Endpoint.
Now in the Veeam Backup & Replication under Backup Infrastructure and Backup Repositories, create a new Object Storage Repository of type Amazon S3 Compatible and enter the following details. Note that the Region is not listed in the Settings, but can be found in the documentation here.
From here, add the Bucket, create the folder and save the new Object Storage Repository as per usual.
I created a new SOBR and configured a Capacity Tier extent backed by the Filebase Object Storage Repo and from there, once a job is configured to use the SOBR we can move or copy backup data into the Capacity Tier which is sitting on a super de-centralised, distributed storage layer leveraging BlockChain! Below you can see data being copied up to FileBase as a result of the Backup Job completing and the offload task doing its thing.
Going back to the FileBase Console, we can also see the standard Veeam Object Storage file structure in play
I’ll update this post with details on further testing, including an Instant VM Recovery direct off of Object Storage test.
I like this … I like it a-lot! when I first came across SIA back in 2017, I saw the potential for this and in truth wish I had gotten involved in something like this on some level. The marrying up of cloud storage, merged into Object Storage, now mixed in with BlockChain is such a brilliant application of technology that people associate with money, bubbles and pumps. From a backup storage platform point of view, the distributed, redundant nature of the technology makes it a perfect fit… however the compliancy and regulations that are coming more and more into play also make it challenging as data is literally spread everywhere without knowing where it is.
Looking forward to tracking FileBase as they break out of their seed round and will be interesting to see how this grows.